On Calling Home (36)

I’m trying to get it together to mail a package to Ana and Rodolfo for Christmas this year, something the whole family can enjoy. I failed to get it there in time before, sent something late two years ago, incomplete. This year I have a puzzle, a night scene that looks like Italy. I went to buy vegetable seeds yesterday for the milpa, but True Value didn’t have their new stock in yet. I want to get some photos made for them, maybe the Mexican marigolds in my garden, pictures of my cats napping on the patio. I worry they’ll think I’ve forgotten them. The last time I spoke to Ana was in January when I called to talk to Isabel on the day of her quinceanero. I never called back to see if her card arrived with the magic Mexican pesos still tucked inside it, worn bills I had carried in my wallet for years like good luck charms.

I’ve thought of calling often, mornings like this when I sit quiet on the patio and let my thoughts wander back to Ajijic, with Ana and Rodolfo always at the heart of it. I especially wanted to call them on el dia de los muertos and for Thanksgiving, too. I wonder if they celebrated it there this year, the expatriate’s customs rubbing off on the locals. They are people I am grateful for, so I wanted to call to let them know. But I didn’t. I haven’t called since that morning in January, the whole family in a happy flurry getting ready for Isabel’s big day. And I ache for not hearing their voices, not learning las noticias, the news. But something keeps stopping me from calling, and I ask myself again and again what it is. I’m pretty sure it’s not the difficulty of speaking Spanish over the phone, the disadvantage of not having their facial expressions and their gestures to help me out. I suspect, instead, it is the way the thought of them squeezes my heart.

Still, for the fullness of the moment, hearing their familiar voices on the phone, reveling in the sound of their laughter, of laughing together though we’re 1600 miles apart–I tell myself to call soon. That richness is worth the small heartbreak sure to follow.

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